Decision-making drivers for pandemic response for Institutions of Higher Education




decision-making, resilience, coronavirus disease 2019, higher education, vulnerability, emergency management, leadership, anchor institutions


The purpose of this research is to identify how decision-makers within anchor institutions, using the context of higher education, determine the course of action in response to an improbable disaster event, such as the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A survey was conducted among higher education decision-makers during spring 2020 at the moment they were adapting to COVID-19. The survey aimed to identify policies and planning measures that may help Institutions of Higher Education learn from this experience to maintain continuity of operations should similar or unanticipated events occur in the future. With this knowledge, both assets and detriments contributing to community vulnerability can be better balanced to inform decision-making. The outcomes of the analysis and shared reflections inform the development of future policy and strengthen existing processes for preparedness and mitigation planning for unexpected events.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner, MPA

Senior Lecturer, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Daneille L. Eiseman, PhD

Lecturer, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Elizabeth A. Dunn, MPH, CPH

Instructor I, Samuel P. Bell, III College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida


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How to Cite

Brenner, R. M., D. L. Eiseman, and E. A. Dunn. “Decision-Making Drivers for Pandemic Response for Institutions of Higher Education”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 22, no. 3, May 2024, pp. 311-26, doi:10.5055/jem.0823.